By: Chad Hyatt
Reflection—v. 32 ‘…today and tomorrow, and on the third day I finish my work’
In response to the Pharisees warning about Herod’s desire to kill him, Jesus describes his mission in terms that directly point to the three days from his death on the cross to his resurrection from the dead. He is using the cross-story, toward which his mission is moving, to describe the larger story of his life and work, allowing both narratives to interpret one another. Jesus’ use of ‘three days’ borrows from the prophets, apocalyptic language that is both clever and political. Such language points to truth that the powers-that-be cannot grasp or comprehend—whether Babylon back in the day, or as in this case, old foxy Herod and mighty Jerusalem. But as followers of Jesus we are called to hold what we cannot fully grasp and contemplate what we cannot fully comprehend. Scholars often think of atonement theory—how the death of Jesus saves us—as something reserved for Paul and later Christian writers. But the gospels themselves—Jesus himself!—presents a way of understanding the meaning of the cross. It is found not just in the circumstances of this death but precisely in his liberating life and work. And here’s the point: that story is still being told—in and with and through us. At Mercy, we are telling our own stories and listening to one another. Our stories, just like Jesus’ life story, find deeper meaning and significance as they are told within the narrative of the cross and resurrection. God’s atoning of the injustices of our world, accomplished finally and fully in Jesus, is also being worked out in those of us who take up our cross in order to follow him toward new life—and a renewed world.
Prayer Jesus, in your story of cross and new life, we find our own stories with you.